What is this place?
This is No Man’s Land. This is the place stuck in the middle of the political battle between the Left and the Right. As of writing this is in March of 2017 the USA, Canada, and seemingly the whole world, are in a political war. Possibly never before have we seen such a disconnect between the two political “sides”. On the left are Liberals/Democrats; people who believe we should all care for each other, and help each other when we’re in need. On the right are Conservatives/ Republicans; people who believe that you should work hard to achieve success, and for people to be free. And for some reason, we live in a world where we can’t do both. “The Middle” is a political stance I see people identify as very rarely, and talked about even less. Lots of people will say they are when trying to distance themselves from extremists on the side they really are, but few actually take a neutral stance on most major issues. Until recently I didn’t, I was quick to lump myself into a group. But as of late I’ve found myself being more and more open to looking at issues objectively regardless of what each political group believes. But instead of being seen as neutral, I’m often seen as the enemy to both sides since I don’t fully agree with them. So I find myself stuck in the middle of this war, being fired on from both sides. Won’t you join me in the middle; won’t you join me in No Man’s Land?
Who are you?
I am Shane Michaels, a late 20s white male from Southern Ontario, Canada. I long considered myself Liberal, although now have realized it was because of the slant to the Left in education and media that turned me at a young age. As I started to get older and follow politics slightly I realized that while I have liberal values, I find the Left parties to often times be too liberal for me. This started my drift towards the middle, but I was really still a Liberal in mindset. That actually started to change a couple years ago with the Justin Trudeau campaign/election win, and later with the Trump campaign/election win. It was during this time politics really jumped to the forefront of everyone’s topics of discussion, and I got more exposed. It was also during this time that I realized how much in the middle I really was. Trudeau rode the new wave of Political Correctness, giving it even more momentum. I came to think of things as getting too PC, and backed off from the Left. With Trump’s rise I was flabbergasted, as I didn’t think it was possible for Republicans to follow up with someone I’d be more embarrassed to have as a leader than George Bush. But they did it, and did it bigly. I couldn’t believe anyone would support this dude. Then, like many anti-Trumpers, I found out a good friend supported. I couldn’t believe it, not only a good friend, but one I’ve always considered smarter than me and respected greatly. But unlike most people, I decided to talk to him calmly and without judgment. And that’s when my political stance shifted once again. Because my friend truly is smarter than me and very respectable, and he had good reasons to support Trump. My friend exposed my ignorance to what the Right stands for. There was more than pro-gun, pro-life, pro-military. There was infastructure and job development and market growth. These are things I never really thought of; I mean I knew they needed to be focused on, but I never focused on them. Because I was Liberal, and Conservatives think about that stuff. This is when it dawned on me that I needed to rethink how I view these issues and politics.
Why are we here?
Upon my shift to the Middle, I realized how few people are here. Like I said earlier, people may say they’re in the middle, but few actually are. Even I still struggle with preset beliefs that interfere with me being objective. Bias is everywhere, and one of the main reasons I wanted to start this. I think I may be impossible to be completely unbiased, I try to be but will have bias slip through on occasion. Nowhere is bias more prevalent than journalism and social media, and this is my way to combat that. The phrase “there’s no such thing as unbiased journalism” gets thrown around a lot, and is definitely true. What is find odd and problematic is that it’s become the rule and not the observation. Journalists don’t try to be unbiased, people don’t try to follow unbiased(or as unbiased as possible) media, and people don’t try to look at things or discuss things without bias. Even worse people, unknowingly but willingly, fall victim to confirmation bias. For anyone who has never heard the term before, it means when you purposely seek out information that reinforces your beliefs while ignoring or dismissing information that doesn’t. I can’t imagine there is a person on social media that hasn’t been a victim of this, I was for years. What concerns me is how people don’t notice, or even care. They want to only see what proves them right, and will put blinders on for anything that challenges them. I to this day will dismiss articles and studies that go against a select few beliefs/ideals that I strongly believe in. I am trying not to, and hope I can help others do the same. This blog will casually discuss politics and social topics, with as unbiased of view as I can provide. I will still have clear opinions on things; despite my intelligent friend’s insight I still think Trump is a terrible leader, but I will admit when he does something good(spoiler alert: he does sometimes). Hopefully I can do what I’m trying to accomplish, and can at least give people something to think about.